What Makes a Good Visualization?

Information is Beautiful is a blog project by David McCandless, UK-based data journalist and information designer.  His blog investigates weird and wacky ideas, opinions, trends, phenomena — visualized.

As someone new to the dataviz party, I’ve often contemplated what makes a good visualization. How do data visualizations “work” — or not work? What’s the secret sauce here, anyway?

Thankfully, David gives us his “What Makes a Good Visualization” model, a delicate and careful marriage of the implicit and explicit, and the tension between the two. See below:

What Makes A Good Visualization, David McCandless 2015.

Successful visualization, then, lends itself into the artful synthesis of information (data), story (concept), goal (function), and visual form (metaphor). What’s especially cool, is how new and exciting these fields are within the realm of data visualization / information design.

Visual form (metaphor), as it is currently known in information design, is a relatively new practice, compared to, say, information design in film or animation. Methods, avenues, and templates for visual form are only now being developed and refined. Think, then, what can be accomplished in this field if we orient our focus from 2D to 3D information design! The opportunities for design in a statistical and analytic context are abound.

As are good, smart visualization on McCandless’ blog. Peeps a few of my favorites (reproduced below for your scrolling pleasure):

Common MythConceptions: World's Most Contagious Falsehoods. David McCandless.

Common MythConceptions: World’s Most Contagious Falsehoods. David McCandless. 2015.

Inter Mental: Towards a Classification of Tech & Internet-Induced Mental Disorders. David McCandless 2015.

Inter Mental: Towards a Classification of Tech & Internet-Induced Mental Disorders. David McCandless. 2015.

Out Of Your Hands

Out of Your Hands. David McCandless. 2015.


Cocktails: 77 Drinks Every Bar Person & Party Monster Should Know. David McCandless. 2015.